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3 Bumps

Sister is splitting from her husband w/ intent to divorce. What do I tell my brother-in-law who just cannot understand WHY??

They have been in and out of therapy for years. Bottom line, he does what he wants ALL the time, he belittles my sister and has a veiled disrespect for her and she's just done. She feels he's toxic to her and she'd rather be alone. Sadly, this guy just cannot be accountable for his selfishness over the last 15 years. He's so self-important that he cannot comprehend her reasons which she's explained over and over. He is a nice person and if my sister wanted to be controlled (not in an abusive way) it would be fine. He has to decide on everything and when she gives input he shoots it down with his explanation.

Well, he's calling me, my Mom and her friends to try to "fix" things. He cannot understand why this is happening and is saying she's messed up and depressed. I can say with confidence she's not and she's for once, very clear minded. I love my brother-in-law and he is a decent guy, what do I SAY when he calls? I feel sad for him but I don't feel it's up to me to repeat the reasons for why my sister is done with him. I don't want to say "Well for ten years you've done everything your way, put family in last place and ignored your wife." He just doesn't "see" it. And he's really in pain and I feel so badly for him too. For the record, my sister set him up with their old therapist to help him better understand....ugh. Any advice at all?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 11:36 PM on Jan. 19, 2011 in Relationships

Answers (10)
  • Babe I think you just gave yourself the best advice ever.  He didn't listen to his wife, he isn't going to suddenly "get it".  She did a very nice and reasonable thing to set him up with the therapist and if I were you I wouldn't talk to him period.  Of course politeness matters but you don't have to keep listening to him.


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 11:39 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • It's not your responsibility to explain to him why his marriage failed. You can just let him know that you love your family dearly and you have so much respect for everyone involved that you aren't going to gossip or speculate or speak out of turn.

    Say "I love you. I'm keeping you in my thoughts and /or prayers" then hang up.

    Answer by ecodani at 11:39 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • These things get really nasty. I would stay out of it and let them deal with it. It's their divorce. Support you sister, and be there for her. Just avoid him, it would probably be best for the rest of your family to avoid him as well.

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 11:40 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Tell him what you wrote in your first paragraph. He is not going to change and I would not want to be in the middle.

    Answer by Noosa at 11:42 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Well, my general answer would simply be "it's not your place/responsibility to tell him anything". That's probably not incredibly helpful though. Since he's unwilling or unable to actually LISTEN to what his (soon to be ex) wife has told him about it, perhaps you can simply suggest he return to one of the therapists that they'd seen before. Professionals are sometimes better equip at saying the same thing in different ways until the person actually GETS it (ok, maybe not better... but it's a lot easier to be patient with people that don't listen when you're being payed to deal with them).

    Good luck.

    Answer by coder_chick at 11:42 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • he knows what his faults are but he is trying to play the victim. that 's it..

    Answer by gwen20 at 11:48 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • He sounds narcissistic. This means there is nothing can do or say that will meaningfully enter his brain. Tell him that you still care for him, but this isn't your business and there's nothing you can do.

    Answer by BridgetC140 at 11:59 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • If he belittles your sister and has to do everything his way..... How is he such a good guy?? I'm confused!! If some guy was treating my sister that way, I wouldn't think hes a good guy...

    Answer by Alta2008 at 12:47 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Has your sister come out and told him why she wants a divorce? Evidently, he needs to hear it from her. She needs to explain the why and why she feels this way. He should realize though that after all the years of counseling, and it didn't help, that there isn't anything that is going to help them now. Stay out of it though, it's not your battle. I would support your sister and tell him so and let it

    Answer by amessageofhope at 12:56 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • He has to learn to deal with his own marital issuse himself

    Answer by tinamarie1972 at 11:26 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

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